Healing Force

Formed : 1970

Lineup: Laurie Pryor (drums), Charlie Tumahai (vocals, bass), Mal Logan (organ), Lindsay Wells (guitar)

Style: Progressive Rock

The legendary Healing Force was something of a 'supergroup', and its history intersects with several other important bands of the period, notably King Harvest and Friends. They made only one single, but it is still widely regarded as one of the flagship Australian progressive rock releases of the early '70s. All the members had a wealth of experience -- Pryor had been the drummer in the The Twilights; Charlie was from Nova Express; Logan was from The Rebels and Wells had been a member of Perth's prog-rock pioneers Bakery.

The first lineup formed late in 1970 and began playing in Adelaide over the '70/'71 Christmas period. They played at several early rock festivals including Launching Place. In April 1971, they signed with Robie Porter's new Sparmac label. Midway through 1971, they expanded to a five piece with the addition of John Pugh (ex-18th Century Quartet) on guitar.

In July, they released their brilliant single. The 'A' side, "Golden Miles", by Lindsay Wells, is one of the most admired Austraian progressive rock recordings of the period, and indeed rock historian Ian McFarlane named his magazine after it and rates as the best Australian progressive recording of the era. It was deservedly successful and spent nineteen weeks in the Melbourne charts, barely missing out on entering the Top 30. It features rippling Hammond organ by Logan with a beautiful melody line and a dramatic chorus, highlighted by the soaring vocals of the late, great Charlie Tumahai. The flip-side, another Lindsay Wells composition, was heavier but almost as good. It has never been commercially released but it has been included on the first CD in the trade-only CD-R compilation series Obscured But Unscarred. Just before the single hit the charts, Charlie quit to join Chain and the group returned to a four piece. Pryor left soon after and was replaced by Joe Tattersall (ex-Barrelhouse), but then Lindsay also left and the band fizzled out.

In November 1972, Healing Force reformed with Logan, Pryor and Pugh, plus newcomers Gus Feniwck (bass) and Mal Capewell (ex-Company Caine) on reeds. This version performed at the Sunbury Pop Festival in January 1973, with Charlie rejoining especially for the show. One track from their set, "Erection", was included on the Mushroom Records Sunbury '73 album. They disbanded shortly afterwards, during preparations for a planned LP, leaving their considerable promise sadly unfulfilled.